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ABANDONED TOYS ‘R’ US LOVE STORY/ABANDONED SPORTS WORLD LOVE STORY by Jordan Hayward

abandoned toys ‘r’ us love story

stone cold steve austin sits unaccompanied by a military grade transport vehicle, unflinching in someone’s captured breath, hidden amongst a dark spot on a crowded aisle, watchful and waiting beneath elsa’s hollow glare and woeful pale complexion.

piped music aches in surges from corners and unmarked spaces in the ceiling, whispering ‘so many times’ or ‘say you were the only / toy for me’ underneath ruptured squeezes from a presumably cheap keyboard. aisles creak with age, while skateboards precariously occupy spaces in plain view. the ghost walks with a wry shuffle from sports to outdoor. nerf guns remain unloaded and boxed, resting as an implication. a singular basketball hoop gathers dust, unswished.

small animals infiltrate daily, badgers and cockroaches and spiders and eels and mice and foxes, each looking for their next meal, or action figures, or a crib for a small child.

the ghost wanders at a speed that allows his bed-sheet attire to drift cautiously behind him, almost summery in its airiness, bright and filled with an inherent grieving, from his deathly birth to the point at which he approaches a small wooden cabin, sugary and juvenile with its caricature architecture. he crouches down at the plastic green entranceway, and raps his knuckles across it, polite even in haunting.

is there anybody in there? he asks, hoping.

abandoned sports world love story

and from a small hole that a hungry and ponderous fox had made in the far left hand side wall by the car seats and baby clothes, permeating into the sports world next door, a wilted and frail voice makes its way through the air, in a pink and hazy way, lifted by suspicion and communal yearning, navigable in expectation, crossing paths with words like adidas, and drifts softly into the other side, where it reaches a small wooden cabin.

you sound like a ghost, the voice offers.

and the ghost stands up.

captain america sits still nearby, with a stern, discerning look on his face.

friction buzzes within the ghost, as he shuffles mournfully towards the car seats and baby clothes, in search of the voice.

he approaches, hesitant, a fearsome anticipation akin to some desire to stroke a particularly endearing grizzly bear, and brings his face up to the small hole in the large wall.

oh, you are a ghost. wow, i’m getting good at this. wow, replies the voice, gruff and ashen. what’s your name?

the ghost thinks for a second, and then for a few seconds more, before looking down at himself, then through himself, into the walls and shelves behind him, wide and towering, filled to capacity with beautiful things, named things, all staring outwards with a consummate sheen.

what would you name me? the ghost asks. if you had to?

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